Columns > Published on March 25th, 2020

12 Indie Publishers Producing Fresh, Hot, Horror Fiction

1. Death's Head Press

Friends, Jarod Barbee and Patrick C. Harrington III are publishing sick horror fiction with an emphasis on splatterpunk, bizarro, dark-erotica and so much that can't be squished into genre labels.

What I love: When I think of the books and authors available from Death's Head, I think of the smashing covers (Good example: Resisting Madness, Wes Southard) and the limitless talent pool of seasoned vets and rookie stars. Jarod is an active social media user which makes it easy for hungry horror hounds to stay informed on fresh titles.


2. Grindhouse Press

Grindhouse is killing it, full stop. If a book has the Grindhouse stamp of approval on it, I'm buying it. Some of my favorite reads have come from this house: True Crime by Samantha Kolesnik, Rites of Extinction by Matt Serafini, and Limbs by Tim Meyer.

What I love: Great attention is given to eye-popping covers and provocative substance/style. If horror had an arthouse cafe, it would look and smell like Grindhouse. Pick up anything by C. V. Hunt, Patrick Lacey, Kristopher Triana or Scott Cole. Nothing but good stuff.


3. Raw Dog Screaming Press

When I think of this press, I think of fierce, fringe horror written by a dangerous girl gang of wordslingers. Raw Dog is home to a cache of horror poetry by the industry's finest: Stephanie Wytovich, Christina Sng, and Donna Lynch.

What I love: Raw Dog Screaming Press was honored by the Horror Writer's Association for their 16 years of excellence serving the genre well and publishing amazing books.


4. SST

Speaking of the Horror Writer's Association award for excellence in publishing, SST takes home the honor this year. An independent press out of the UK that started in 1999, owner Paul Fry treats his customers and authors like royalty.

What I love: I have spent all my money buying SST's gorgeous, limited, signed, special edition hardcovers of my favorite books. My precious book babies are treated with care and concern and it shows in the attention to detail with packaging and shipping. Big love for SST.


5. Grey Matter Press

Grey Matter is home to phenomenal authors like Alan Baxter and John F. D. Taff. There's a real focus on clean, professional looking marketing as well as solid customer support from a reader's standpoint. In terms of the other side of the business, I've heard nothing but good things about the team at Grey Matter Press.

What I love: I think the quality of Grey Matter books speak for themselves. Great artwork and concepts for the covers,  impressive interior book design, and attention to detail. 


6. Crystal Lake Publishing

In terms of quality horror in a variety of formats from the industry's best names, Crystal Lake stands out as one of the best. Novels, novellas, award winning anthologies, there's something for every reader at Crystal Lake.

What I love: I know what I'm getting when I buy a book from Crystal Lake. Owner Joe Mynhardt is a pleasure to work with and he has a fantastic team. The books themselves always look unique to their press with great interior design and eye-candy cover art. I'm excited to see what they have in store for horror lovers in 2020 because 2019 was a little mind-blowing. So many amazing titles from favorite authors.


7. Bloodshot Books

READ UNTIL YOU BLEED! Bloodshot Books is a micro-press that have been turning out quality horror since 2015. Owner Pete Kahle loves horror so much, his passion shines through the company.

What I love: Some of my favorite authors have published books with Bloodshot and I probably discovered them by reading Bloodshot's back catalog: Tom Deady, James Newman, Pat Lacey, Matthew Hayward and several others. Pete has an eye for talent.


8. Undertow Publications

An indie press out of Canada, Undertow has been publishing niche horror since 2009. I would say that the books published at Undertow are remarkably unusual and literary.

What I love: Michael Kelly at Undertow Publications is a class act. He's exceptionally creative with social media marketing and very responsive with correspondence, which I feel is important! Authors deserve great representation and I truly believe that Undertow is one of the best when it comes to elevating the industry and setting a high standard of quality for everyone else. Beautiful covers, exceptionally talented authors, and seriously delicious author collections.


9. Valancourt Books

Valancourt is doing the Lord's work. Seriously. They toil tirelessly to bring us out-of-print, rare or under-the-radar horror fiction.

What I love: Valancourt's Paperbacks From Hell Series is one of the best things to happen to horror collectors. Each month, subscribers receive another mass-market sized paperback from yesteryear with a reimagined cover to make them drool. My favorite from last year was When Darkness Loves Us by Elizabeth Engstrom and this year, I'm excited to read the previously ridiculously hard to find, Let's Go Play at the Adams' by Mendal W. Johnson. Thank you, Valancourt for being so cool!!!


11. Corpus Press

Specializing in Horror and Weird Fiction, "Modern pulp that emphasizes plot over gore", Corpus Press are best known for their amazing anthologies stocked full with impressive TOCs.

What I love: Doorbells At Dusk was a Halloween themed anthology that was cover-to-cover goodness, with a cover so amazing I photographed it for bookstagram too many times and everyone was probably sick of it. Their Masters of Midnight books also boast amazing covers and stories from horror's best. I love the professionalism and awesomeness of Evans Light and his team. Corpus Press is awesome!


11. Rooster Republic

Nicholas Day and partner Don Noble are two of the smartest guys in the publishing world. They are very selective about what they publish in order to maintain a certain level of quality. They love off-center, weird stories and there is special attention given to the book's design that is especially noteworthy.

What I love: Check out the design services offered at Rooster. Noble is one of my all-time favorite cover designers working today. I love Rooster's edgy, underground aesthetic 


12. Perpetual Motion Machine

PMMP are doing amazing things. They publish horror and dark fiction titles. They have a publication called Dark Moon Digest that features short indie fiction, and a Stephen King podcast called Castle Rock Radio.

What I love: Max Booth III. Max is one of those guys that can do it all. He can write, (Read Touch the Night) he can host podcasts (check out Ghoulish with Max Booth III, a host!) and he can run a successful publishing house that puts out books I want to read (example, The Girl in the Video by Michael David Wilson). One of my all time favorite people in the industry. 

Those are mine. What are some of your favorite indie presses, horror or otherwise?

About the author

Sadie Hartmann, “Mother Horror” reviews horror fiction for Cemetery Dance Online and Scream Magazine. She is a co-owner of a curated, horror fiction book subscription company called Night Worms. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, kids and Frenchie.

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